Why Draping 2?

Last time I shared the basic sloper for my sewing friend using her duct tape dummy and getting an idea about the fitting issues.

This time the pattern is for a princess seamed blouse from Silhouette patterns #700 which is OOP. My friend copied her size with True Grid material and I pinned it to her dummy to see how close we could come to fitting. Here is what we started with…spot the gaps and wrinkles:



It was obvious that the size she selected was too small and the spacing for the front princess seams were way off too so I went back to the paper pattern and traced off the next size up in muslin and started pinning but keeping all the horizontal and vertical grain lines straight.

5-back-princess 6-front-panels Now that it looks closer to the real person, the front princess seams have been made closer together. I can draw out all the lines and tucks and darts and added patches and transfer this to paper:10-two-fronts-to-paper Can you see the red and black lines? Those are the original size 2 and 3 but where my friend’s actual bust point are is where the green lines are drawn, 6.5 inches apart, so that is where they will be on the final pattern.11-trim-fronts The excess is trimmed away and I leave a 3/4 inch seam allowance…why? Because this pattern calls for a 3/8 inch seam allowance but the muslin did not have much ease and it is always better to start with a wider seam and make the first version. Below is the left front panel on the wrong side of the muslin to show the folds and then the right side of the paper.They are stacked and pinned together for accuracy.


14-wrong-side-right-front15-right-side-right-front The right side panel had a larger fold but basically the same shape. The back panels did not have much altering except to slope one and add to the other. Now here is the finished pieces with the folds and patches on paper. How could anyone make this blouse using the pattern right out of the envelope?16-all-pieces

So maybe you are thinking…whew…at least that’s done but when I tried the muslin on my client we discovered that since the dummy was made over 4 years ago, her spine had curved a bit more and the back pieces had to have another inch added straight across after slashing across where a yoke seam would be…you know my usual slash line. Once that was done and a 1 inch patch added, it worked fine. Now my friend has her new pattern and she can make up her first princess blouse and we can tweak further if she needs to.

The armholes are different with the right one being about 2 inches smaller so she will cut 2 different sleeves. She will also cut a new front facing and I elongated her collar because the left shoulder seam was expanded. All in all we have 11 pieces for one blouse but they are more proportioned to all the curves of my client.

So for those of you who wonder…do I need draping skills…if you are sewing for others, the answer is yes. Can you imagine measuring every single aspect of this woman’s body and mapping that on paper hoping you will capture the hills and valleys accurately? Maybe that is achievable but the client would be standing for a very long time and so would you over your drawing table. I say…let the muslin do the work, draw some grain lines and get pinning!

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17 Responses to Why Draping 2?

  1. Audrey says:

    Your friend obviously has some asymmetries in her body, as I do. Will she really sew up the blouse, which appears to be fitted to those asymmetries, so that they are emphasized, or will there be tweaking so that the garment hangs attractively, but does not emphasize them? In other word skims over the ones that do not affect the hang of the garment.

    • mrsmole says:

      My friend needs her blouses to fit close as she tucks them into her waistband. In the past she has just cut patterns and let them be baggy and grabby and uncomfortable and struggle with the fronts not meeting so this will come closer to what she wants.

  2. Jane Urbach says:

    I wonder if those new computer mapping the body (have not heard much about them lately, but they were to be in Bloomingdale’s or some such fancy store where I never shop) machines would be able to compensate as well as you have. As long as your customer uses a floral or similar design, what you have done will make her physical problems much less noticeable. What a blessing you have given her.

    • mrsmole says:

      Wouldn’t that be great for all of us? Did they have some sort of mobile units a few years back and then they would supposedly send you a perfect pattern and then have more patterns for you to buy? Guess that never caught on. My friend actually want to color block her princess pattern so she can use up smaller pieces of fabric so we shall see what she comes up with. I was able to lay her corrected pattern over a coat pattern and a tunic pattern for her, make the back corrections and sleeve measurements so she can get a lot of new sewing for the winter…once you have a basic pattern, you can make it work for you! Thanks for dropping by, Jane!

  3. Lynn says:

    I So look forward to your posts. They are so clear and informative. Thank you so much.

    • mrsmole says:

      You are welcome, Lynn…stuff comes in, stuff goes out…some days it is a blur but some make you feel as though you make a difference.

  4. I never cease to be amazed at how things turn out here. I’ve only started to try draping, but agree it’s just faster sometimes. I’ve got a duct tape dummy for myself and it helps fit shoulders..also have a slight twist thanks to age and lousy posture.
    Your friend is lucky to have you in her corner to help with the fixes. It’s so nice when something fits and is comfortable to wear.

    • mrsmole says:

      Your duct tape dummy is perfect for tissue fitting too…if it looks like crap on her, you may change your mind on doing anything further.

  5. theresa says:

    So Drape drape=shape shape! 🙂

  6. mrsmole says:

    Yes, yes, Theresa! You could drape one of your horses or goats if they would stand still long enough and make them something very creative! The gingham works magic by always showing you the grain lines!

  7. Bunny says:

    Your work is amazing. I have a question that maybe you can answer. It eludes me and I have wondered about it for a long time.

    When someone has such visible assymetries is the goal to fit the body as it is or is it to fit to attempt to hide the assymetry? Certains styles and levels of fit would further camoflage the assymetry. BUT the client wants to wear a blouse like her neighbor, so do you use that pattern and fit to the assymetry? I don’t know how I would handle this quandery and it is always something I have wondered about. Your opinion, please?

  8. mrsmole says:

    I guess it depends on the client. If she realizes that she cannot hide her asymmetry and just wants something that sits well on her shoulders and falls as straight as it can and not swing away from her body, then you go with a closer fit. If like back in the stone age when we were pregnant in the 70’s the maternity styles were to skim the body and try to cover the bump instead of show it off like now. Everyone knows the baby is there but we used to like to drape fabric over our tummies.My client tucks her shirts in and wears a medical harness under her clothes so her needs are different than just a little dropped shoulder or hip hip like the rest of us. Using floral or abstract prints will help too but she is not trying to fool anyone, just get a comfortable fit. Does that clear things up, Bunny? Thanks for asking the question!

  9. prttynpnk says:

    I’m so enjoying watching this process! Just seeing where it was best to remove fabric is such an eye opener for me. More, more!

  10. mrsmole says:

    Oh My, Anne…settle down girl….next time I want to share my model Nancy’s adventures…back to real clothes!

  11. AnnieB says:

    Mrs. Mole, I would love to be able to search your blog but don’t see how. I have a butternut squash and want to cook it like you did but didn’t note the post where you described the cooking method. Help, please!

    • mrsmole says:

      OK Annie, back on Sept 6, 2013 I posted about moving darts and at the end I showed my squash: Another haul from the veggie patch and straight onto the dinner plates..cut a butternut squash in half, microwave for 15 minutes, add butter and nutmeg in the well and scrape across the top, back into the microwave for 30 seconds and enjoy! What I didn’t add was that you could also pour a little sugar free maple syrup over the well too.

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